Standing L-R: Wayne Blair, director Imogen Thomas, Mary Waites, Georgia Blizzard, Letisha Boney, Rob Carlton and introducing Rhae-Kye Waites (front) with Cora. Photo by Christiana Ferreira.
Australian audiences will have their first opportunity to see Emu Runner when it debuts at the Adelaide Film Festival in October, fresh from its world premiere in the Discovery Program at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival on Friday 7 September.
Emu Runner tells the story of nine-year-old Indigenous girl, Gem Daniels (newcomer Rhae-Kye Waites), who lives in a remote Australian town. As she copes with her mother’s unexpected death, Gem finds solace in the company of a wild emu, unwittingly connecting her with her mother’s traditional totem animal.
Gem is a child full of wonder and intrigue, anchored by the deep cultural roots of her Ngemba people and country, and thus her sense of belonging is implicit. Told from Gem’s perspective of the world, this heart-warming and ultimately triumphant story plays out against the pressing issues and challenges that come from living in this isolated community.
It’s the directorial feature debut from Imogen Thomas, who wrote the film in consultation with Aboriginal Ngemba woman Frayne Barker, who is from Brewarrina, NSW – where the film is set and shot. Thomas and Barker had previously collaborated on the award-winning short film Mixed Bag (2008).
“Emu Runner is a film made with and for the Brewarrina community. Many hands and a lot of hard work have been involved in the creation,” said Thomas.
“The process of making the film has been equally important as the end result. That the film has captured the imagination of the TIFF programmers, is an achievement that everyone that has collaborated on the film can be very proud about. We are delighted to have this opportunity to share this story with the world.”
The film stars actor/director Wayne Blair (Redfern Now, The Sapphires), Maurial Spearim (Wentworth, The Secret River), Georgia Blizzard (Home and Away, Thor: Ragnarok), Rob Carton (Chandon Pictures) and introduces a stunning cast of newcomers in Mary Waites, Letisha Boney, Lindsay Waites, Rodney McHughes and Stella Carter.